Keeping an eye on development: Members of our active Planning Committee monitor all significant planning applications in Finchley. We do not hesitate to object to development that we believe would be harmful to our area and to those who live here; equally, we support well designed proposals that would make the area more attractive. In “Who keeps an eye on the planners?“, published in January 2018, The Archer featured the work of the Planning Committee in the N2 area.
The Council now relies largely on its website to inform the public of planning applications, but we get lists each week of the applications distinguished by ward. Individual members of the team (monitors) look through the list for applications in their ward. There are of course many applications. Some are small and will have no detrimental effect on the area: we do not comment on these. Others are of more importance: we scrutinze these carefully and if necessary inform the Council planners of our views (via the website, e-mail or letter). Proposals to which there are many objections go to a Council Committee. We make Councillors aware of our views and we sometimes speak when the Committee meets. Our views carry weight, but are not always accepted! Sometimes, when the Council refuses an application the applicant appeals. We may then make representations to the Inspector considering the appeal and, very occasionally, if there is a Public Inquiry (most appeals are dealt with by written representations) we speak and make our own views clear.
There are in Finchley several conservation areas and listed buildings. Barnet Council maintains a list of conservation areas here and of listed buildings here. Protecting these is especially important, and we are active members of the Council’s Conservation Area Advisory Committee.
We keep a watch on what is actually happening on the ground, and sometimes draw the Council’s attention to apparent breaches of the rules, and press the Council to investigate and take enforcement action.
There is a large amount of law, policy and guidance which governs how planning applications and the like are dealt with. Some of this stems from the Government, some from the Greater London Authority and some from Barnet Council (especially its Local Plan). All is now available on-line, and sometimes in no other way. We try to keep up-to-date in all this, and to have a dialogue whenever the Council changes its planning policies and procedures – for instance on the revision of the ‘Statement of Community Involvement’. We are also alert to changes made or proposed by the government in planning law and policy, some of which are relaxations which will make it more difficult for the Council to control development which is damaging or undesirable. We sometimes make representations about these to our Members of Parliament, and are active in the London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies.
If there is a planning proposal near you that is causing you some concern, or if you think planning rules are being broken, we should like to know, and may be able to help. In the first instance contact our Secretary, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
|The Planning Committee|